Accused Sexual Predator Edward Stout met Victim through XBox

February 6, 2009 10:40:21 PM PST
Missouri man accused of travelling to the Valley to have sex with an underage girl made his first court appearance.Prosecutors say Edward Stout started the relationship with the Sanger teen through an Xbox game. The girls parents discovered the relationship, but didn't take action because he lived so far away. That all changed when Stout showed up here in the Valley.

The xbox, Nintendo Wii and Play station three all have legions of fans young and old who love to interact with fellow gamers outside of the home. Social networking expert Dr. Tanyra Pierce says some parents have no idea these interactive features can be a tool for predators.

Dr. Tamyra Pierce said, "This new gaming system that allows them to communicate back and forth and see video I have no doubt they are out there looking for young people."

On Friday 27 year old Edward Stout from Missouri pled not guilty in a federal court room in Fresno to charges of coercion and enticement-- and crossing state lines to have sex with a minor.

According to court documents-in April ? Stout allegedly began a relationship over MySpace and through text and phone conversations with a then 14, now 15 year old, girl in Sanger. The two initially met through an Xbox live game.

"Because there is the veil of anonymity they are able to very quickly gain that trust," said Dr. Pierce.

Just week in Michigan, police say a 16 year old girl fled to Puerto Rico to meet a 26 year old man she met while playing the Xbox online. In Evington Virginia a 13 year old girl went missing for 24 hours- she was found with a 21 year old she met playing games online.

Experts say it's up to parents to be proactive. Caleb Rock said, "We let parents know the capabilities of the system . They can set controls and no one else can talk to them except for their friends." Controls that can prevent a game from turning into a tragedy.

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